By Marshall W. Meyer
This ebook examines intimately the method of switch in 240 urban, county and nation public bureaucracies chargeable for neighborhood finance management. utilizing the longitudinal approach to research, the knowledge convey organizational constructions to be less sturdy than traditional stereotypes have steered. Variables resembling organizational management, claims to area, and survival (as against substitute or reorganization) have been discovered to mediate environmental results on bureaucracies. The e-book additionally discusses conventional theories of paperwork, theories emphasizing the significance of surroundings for organizational thought is feasible. The concluding bankruptcy attracts huge theoretical implications from the empirical findings of the examine.
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Generality in organizational theory Another bedrock issue in organizational analysis con cerns the possibility of highly accurate, hence predictive, statements about organizations. My concern for this issue stems from the oscillations organizational theory has un dergone in the past decade. We have witnessed on, the one hand, attempt to develop general laws of organizational be havior and, on the other hand, a reversion to case or "pro cess" studies triggered by the failure of quantitative analysis to yield meaningful results.
In both of these theories, however, the environ ment operates mainly through replacement of organizations rather than change in existing ones. Whatever the merits of evolutionary theories-and they may not apply meaningfully to public bureaucracies, as Al drich and Pfeffer (1976:88) point out-it is not clear how the evolutionary approach can be compared to conventional open-systems views of organizations. Evolutionary theory focuses on populations of organizations, whereas individual organizations are normally the unit of analysis in the open- Change in public bureaucracies 36 systems perspective.
We should first ask what is meant by an "open" as op posed to a "closed" system. Organizational theory is rife with similar polarities. Aside from the ope n - closed dichotomy, theorists speak of natural- and rational-systems models (Gouldner, 1959), organic versus mechanistic or ganizations (Burns and Stalker, 1961) , and the like. The open, natural, or organic system is viewed as complex, sub ject to inputs from environment, and possibly unpredictable. The closed, rational, or mechanistic setting is one where be havior is programmed in advance, the environment intrudes minimally and is neutralized when it does, and a modicum of technical rationality prevails.